MRI death: Rs 10 lakh ‘interim’ relief for kin of deceased

Mumbai: Observing that the ‘unfortunate incident’ could have been averted by the authorities, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the city’s civic body to pay an interim compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the family of the man who died after being sucked into an MRI machine.

The victim – Rajesh Maru -- died in January 2018, after he was sucked in by an MRI machine in the BYL Nair hospital. He died because of the serious injuries he sustained after getting sucked in and also due to the leak of oxygen from a cylinder which he was carrying.

Maru had been to the hospital to pay a visit to his sister’s mother-in-law and escorted her till the MRI room, within the hospital premises. There, he was allegedly asked by a ward boy, to carry the cylinder inside, with an assurance that the machine would be switched off.

However, the machine was not switched off and as soon as he entered the room, he was sucked in due to the magnetic force. Following the incident, the police booked the ward boy while the hospital authorities charged two of its doctors for negligence.

Having considered the facts of the case, the bench of Justices Akhil Kureshi and Shahrukh Kathawalla held the hospital authorities as well as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to be negligent.

“The material on record helps us strongly conclude that the incident took place due to the negligence on part of the hospital authorities. In fact, this unfortunate incident could have been averted if the hospital authorities did not show such negligence,” the judges said.

“Thus, we are of the considered opinion that the authorities cannot escape from their liabilities and must pay the interim compensation to the family through five-year fixed deposit,” the judges added.

The judges, while ordering this compensation, clarified that this is only an ‘interim’ order and the final order would be subject to the conclusion of the trial in the case.

The plea filed by Maru’s family members was vehemently opposed by the BMC on the ground that the trial in the case is yet to conclude. The civic body further argued that whether Maru was assured by the ward boy or not, is yet to be ascertained.

“Whether such assurance was given or not is not the aspect, which this court should be dealing at this stage. We are only concerned with the issue of compensation,” the bench said.

“It is clear that Maru did not enter the room without permission and instead it was the ward boy who asked him to enter with the cylinder, which shows the negligence on his part. Thus to ensure such incidents are not repeated, we want the civic body to pay the compensation,” the judges ruled.

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